Glass Frog

Centrolenidae

The glass frog
is a master magician:
he bares not only his heart
but his digestive tract, too,
puts his guts on display
without spilling them,
as luminous & orderly
as a Joseph Cornell box.
His call is pure crystal,
& he can produce
a full chorus
from his single throat.
Day & night he squats
by his clutch of eggs,
darting the parasitic flies
before they can inject
their own dangerous eggs,
as the tadpoles grow visible
through the clearing albumen.
One night they wriggle free,
slide off their natal leaf
& drop into the jungle stream
far below, there to burrow
into the sandy bed.
Living in a cloud forest,
is it ever possible
to stop dreaming?
Trees bloom in lurid colors
that are not their own
& anything that wants to hide
can simply sit still
& learn how to be transparent
from gas & fog.

Series Navigation← Snow FleaPurple Sea Urchin →

12 Comments


  1. “gas & fog”: clever circle back to the title there, Dave! Like that. I see this will be a bestiary leaning toward the fabulous…

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    1. Thanks, Marly. I really labored over this one — which is as it should be, I suppose. I’m still not sure I quite did glass frogs justice…

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  2. I was taken with that circle, too.

    Wonderful to read a frog poem, so well done. Would that I were a glass frog, “puts his guts on display / without spilling them,”

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    1. Glad you liked that. Even though I’m calling this a bestiary, it might end up being a very confessional series. :)

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  3. Wow! That’s some poem! The illustrator had better be up to it!

    Well done my friend. Marly is right. This Bestiary is showing early signs of shaping up to be ‘fabulous’!

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    1. Thanks; we’ll see. I picked glass frogs in part out of consideration for the artist, thinking about what would be the most fun to depict. I figured you needed a break after snow fleas!

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      1. No, I’m greatly impressed by the pictorial potential of snow fleas. I’m finding them to be vastly entertaining as illustration material And I think that however the image may eventually resolve itself into an accompanying lino-print for your poem, it’ll also appear as our 2010 Christmas card design!

        This is fun. Thanks Dave. I do enjoy a stimulating collaboration.

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  4. i love this! what a perfect poem…”living in a cloud forest, is it ever possible to stop dreaming?”
    no!
    everything in this poem is perfect! thank you for sharing…

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    1. Thanks for your enthusiasm, Zoe. I may not entirely share it, but sometimes it’s enough of a reward just to know that a given poem was a hit with others. And of course being satisfied with one’s work is death for any artist.

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  5. Is she breakable, this glass frog dreaming in the treetops?

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  6. This is wonderful. Like your other commenters, I really like the circularity of this both in the title and closing line and the way we get a little of the glass frog’s life history. What a fascinating species.

    Reply

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